Son of Iran’s Former President Begins Prison Term

The son of Iran's former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani began a 10-year prison term for financial and security crimes on Sunday, AFP reported.

The son, Mehdi Hashemi, was in March handed prison sentences totaling 25 years after being convicted on three charges in separate cases involving national security, fraud and embezzlement.

The 45-year-old was also ordered to pay undisclosed fines and financial penalties, and was barred from holding public office. He lost an appeal.

The trial was held behind closed doors and details of the evidence and specific crimes has not been released, according to AFP.

He was sentenced to two terms of 10 years in prison and one of five years, and in line with Iranian law will serve the longest of the three sentences.

Iranian media said he had arrived at Evin Prison in Tehran, where he read a statement to reporters demanding that recordings of his trial be released.

Hashemi said he saw "political purposes as the main element" of the case against him, according to AFP.

He said his conviction was "neither fair nor legal" but he hoped "to protect and defend the integrity of my honorable and oppressed father".

"I demand once again that state television broadcast my court hearings fully," he said.

"I firmly believe that this measure will prevent abuses by radicals from harming one of the important pillars of the Islamic Republic," he added, in an apparent reference to the judiciary.

Rafsanjani served as Iran's president from 1989 to 1997.

The 80-year-old remains influential in Iranian politics despite suffering setbacks in recent years. He is now considered a moderate close to the reformist camp.

Rafsanjani was barred from standing in the 2013 presidential election, officially because of his age. He threw his support behind the eventual winner, Hassan Rouhani.

Rafsanjani's son was accused of involvement in massive protests that followed Iran's 2009 disputed presidential election, won by hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He supported the so-called “Green Movement” led by the defeated reformist candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi after the presidential election.

A video which emerged several months ago of a speech by an Iranian military commander appears to back claims that the 2009 elections were rigged against the reformists.


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